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-   -   e46 M3 Vanos problems (solution)!!! (http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=854594)

phat///M3 07-01-2011 11:07 AM

e46 M3 Vanos problems (solution)!!!
Hi everyone,

Sorry for the long write up but I think its worth it for those experiencing Vanos troubles as it could save them a lot of money.

Out of nowhere my car started experiencing on and off idle & poor power issues accompanied by a CEL (Check Engine Light) and the only way to get rid of the symptoms and CEL was to clear the codes, the car would not go back to running normally by itself.

The codes we're cleared 3 times and the car would run fine (absolutely normal) for 500 kms or more, and then the problem would come back.

The code that kept popping up was a P0012 code on a general diagnostic machine, which made us think intake camshaft position sensor, which I replaced (I broke the bolt when tightening it, long story short, DO NOT BREAK THAT BOLT, as its not fun to drill out), after the swap the car ran fine for a little longer than the previous times when the codes were cleared, so I thought my problem was fixed.

Unfortunately I was wrong, the light came back on, it ran fine for a couple of days with the light on but then went into limp mode again, bad (very rough) idle (shaking), and low power, so I took it to BMW for a full diagnostic to see if they could put it right, my codes where as follows:

B8 = Intake camshaft position and control
CD = Misfire During Warm-Up Cyl #1
CE = Misfire During Warm-Up Cyl #2
CF = Misfire During Warm-Up Cyl #3
D0 = Misfire During Warm-Up Cyl #4
D1 = Misfire During Warm-Up Cyl #5
D2 = Misfire During Warm-Up Cyl #6
D5 = Misfire During Warm-up Multiple Cyl
48 = Intake camshaft VANOS retard valve 1
95 = Misfire with empty fuel tank

They then told me the Vanos was shot, and hit me with a 2700 Euros repair estimate.

So I went looking through the forums to see what other people did with similar codes, as I knew some people only swapped out the solenoid, in some of the result I saw people saying that Rajaie from Beisan Systems had given them advice on trying the solenoid and it worked, so I decided to contact him.

After talking to Rajaie about the codes he underlined some of the symptoms and asked which of them I was or wasnt experiencing, he said he was pretty sure it would be the solenoid which I was willing to order from BMW and give a go anyway as it would be a much cheaper fix than the full Vanos unit.

He then proposed his upcoming solution (a repaired solenoid unit) instead of buying a new complete unit from BMW, and asked if I wanted to be part of the test cars, he had 4 test cars with postive outcome so my car would be number 5.

Not long later I recieved the part, and I went straight into my garage for install.

The install was very easy, it took maybe around 30 mins in total (and that was taking it easy to double check Im not doing anything wrong), Rajaie's instructions made it a piece of cake, and anyone with the proper tools should be able to do this even if you have very little mechanical experience.

The car instantly felt better, the CEL light was still on and didnt go off after a couple of days of driving, so we then erased the remaining fault codes, and boy the car came alive.

Eventhough the car ran a lot better with just the part swapped it came out of limp mode completely and it was a whole different animal, it was as if I just installed an SC thats how much of a difference it made.

Ever since that day its been absolutely fine, not missed one beat, idles perfectly and runs strong.

Its been over 2000 kms now and the problem has not come back, so I think we can say the car is fixed as the problem would return in about 3 days before when just clearing the CEL and codes.

The solenoid unit that is currently installed in my car came from another test car where it had completely failed, but Rajaie and his team fixed it and my car is running great again without a 2700 Euros repair bill.

This solution is a lot and I mean a lot cheaper than getting a new solenoid from BMW, which will fail again over time as the solder joints are no good and the parts inside can vibrate and move, Beisan Systems fixes and rebuilds the part so that it no longer has the issues they came across when researching this problem.

More information can be found here:


CeeBoogie 07-12-2011 03:04 PM

I like this, this might help me out with my problem!!!

phat///M3 07-13-2011 04:02 AM


Originally Posted by CeeBoogie (Post 13370168)
I like this, this might help me out with my problem!!!

What symptoms are you having?

If they are similar to mine I would definately give this a try as for the small amount of money there is no other alternative.

Plus if it works you will end up saving atleast a 1000 USD if you were to do all the work yourself by installing a remanufactured vanos unit from online places like Mr. Vanos, Dr. Vanos, etc.

And you would save loads more if you were to get the parts and work done at a BMW dealership.

RIsiaah 09-21-2011 01:55 PM

Hi everyone my apologies now but am in real need. I have an e46 M3 and it is being painted on friday, I am in need of the outside body trims x6 parts that runs round the body
Ive been told they are called the shadow trims
there are at least one of the part numbers B51.13.7.893.681 I am in South london can anyone tell me where I might be able to locate these parts without having to go to the main stealer, ooops did i say that can call me on 07040401143

DriveFaster 09-21-2011 10:43 PM

Nice writeup. My car threw the same code (Intake Camshaft Retard Valve) and it cost me a vanos unit. I went with a dr. vanos refurbished unit in the end (to the tune of $1800, fml). Congrats on the fix and update when you put a few hundred miles on it to let us know if the fix was permanent or not.

BMM32005 09-22-2011 08:03 AM

Looks like he states he put 2,000 km on the new one, so it appears it is fixed and running great. Great to know these options are out there.

BMWuberwagon 09-22-2011 09:39 AM

Thanks for the write-up. I hope to never need this!

DriveFaster 09-22-2011 11:54 PM


Originally Posted by BMM32005 (Post 13608605)
Looks like he states he put 2,000 km on the new one, so it appears it is fixed and running great. Great to know these options are out there.

Good looking out. :thumbup:

BMM32005 09-23-2011 06:55 AM

I presently have no codes or a VANOS issue (YET). Has anyone replaced the selonoid as a precaution??

IE46323CI 10-19-2011 03:34 AM

e46 m3 vanos solenoid
Oh man, i would like to thank you phat///M3 and Rajaie@Besian systems for posting up such important information and providing way cheaper solution to these s54 vanos solenoid problems. I will be ordering one asap and I'm glad i don't have to spend over$600 on a new solenoid unit, as mine just took a dump. :thumbsup:

emm3speed 10-19-2011 11:15 PM

What is the cost for one of these?

gimmethemuumuu 10-20-2011 09:22 AM


Originally Posted by BMM32005 (Post 13611960)
I presently have no codes or a VANOS issue (YET). Has anyone replaced the selonoid as a precaution??

Good question! I'm in for answers :)

325iskin21 11-12-2011 02:06 PM

I need help!! Where I can find the Starter Solenoid? DO you guys have DIY for that thing? I have 2003 bmw 325i 4dr A/T 106k miles. can anyone please...help me! I would appreciate it! Thanks!

46smg 12-21-2011 07:24 PM

I took my 03 M3 (82K miles) to my Indy mechanic for all the same codes posted by Phat///M3. It was discovered that the Solder Joints had cracked/broke. Previously, my car had a rough shaking idle and loss of power along with all the fault codes. I had checked and cleared the codes with my Peak code reader, but after seeing the problem not going away, I took it in. I actually through my two cents in and had him go to the Beisan Systems website for additional info. Thanks to Beisans Systems the Solder Joints were repaired without having to buy a new solenoid or Vanos...For Now! Took it for a 60 mile drive afterwards and it ran nice and smooth once again. This site is awesome!

pompeypete 08-11-2014 03:33 PM

E46 M3 Timing belt change cost...
Hi guys, Just wondering if anyone knows the cost of labour for a TIMING CHAIN kit on an E46 M3 2003 (54,000 miles full history)....?? I only ask as my local garage has told me around 2000 including parts and labour.....!!! 16-19 hours of it too.....!!!

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